The former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar has been sentenced to between 40 and 175 years in prison for abusing athletes in his care.
Dr. Nassar, 54, was accused of molesting girls for years under the guise of giving them examinations or medical treatment. Some were as young as 6. Many of them were Olympic gymnasts. In November, he pleaded guilty to sexually abusing seven girls. He had already been sentenced to 60 years in federal prison for child pornography convictions.
The Judge appointed to his case, Judge Rosemarie Aquilina reached her decision after a sentence hearing that heard from dozens of women and girls, including the Olympic champions Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney.
Although Nassar had already admitted in November to molesting seven girls in his care under the guise of treatment, a total of 156 girls and women came forward to speak at the seven-day sentencing hearing, saying they had also suffered abuse at his hands, with two dozen more submitting private letters to the court.
Judge Aquilina told Nassar Wednesday: “It is my honor to sentence you because, sir, you do not deserve to walk outside of a prison ever again. Anywhere you walk, destruction would occur to those most vulnerable.”
“The breadth and ripple of this defendant’s abuse and destruction is infinite,” the prosecuting attorney Angela Povilaitis said in her closing remarks. “Nassar used his prestige to gain [his victims’] trust and to exploit them, leaving many of them emotionally shattered by a man they not only trusted but loved. In competitive gymnastics, he found the perfect place for his master manipulation.”
The disgraced doctor gave a brief statement before Aquilina handed down the sentence, acknowledging the “pain, trauma and emotional destruction” experienced by his victims.
“Your words these past several days have had a significant emotional effect on myself and have shaken me to my core,” he said. “I will carry your words with me for the rest of my days.”
“Sir, I hope that’s true,” the judge said after Nassar concluded.